More on the Divide in Catholic Moral Theology

A reader writes:

The article by George Weigel was indeed very troubling, but it’s not the last time that a major Catholic thinker has openly broken with — or ignored — the Church’s teaching, in order to advocate for war.

In February 2014, Robert George co-wrote a piece for National Review in which he advocated for a declaration by Congress authorizing the President to conduct a pre-emptive war against Iran, at his discretion, without further consultation or consent from Congress.

Leaving aside the utter folly of such an idea, and it’s complete incompatibility with international law, there were two really shocking things about this, from a Catholic perspective.

First, it is appalling that such a prominent Catholic thinker would advocate for such a thing, without even once mentioning Catholic teaching on the morality of war, or indeed any Catholic perspective at all (e.g., Pope John Paul’s and Cardinal Ratzinger’s clear denunciation of the notion of pre-emptive war).

And second, it is deeply disappointing that no other Catholic thinker called him to task about this. I realize that men like Robert George and George Weigel are widely respected on the Catholic conservative side, and rightly so. But when they’re wrong, and when they go against the teaching of the Church, it is disturbing that no other prominent Catholic thinkers were willing to contradict them.

Thank you for being willing to defend authentic Catholic teaching in this area!

I’m happy to contradict them, for all the reasons you mention, and I’m thankful you brought the piece to my attention. I missed it when it came out. Oy.

It’s fascinating to me that, for all the hubbub on the Right about Obama’s lawlessness (a very just critique), when it comes to the use of violence abroad, the Right is foursquare behind giving Obama draconian powers. Watching Catholics completely ditch just war teaching to act as court prophet for this is just so depressing. Meanwhile, from Iraq to Israel to Saudi Arabia to Egypt, the most concrete and reliable result of our foreign policy is the destruction of the Catholic Church. Brilliant.


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